When accidents happen to people, forensic investigations are carried out to find out what really happened. In the same way, forensic metallurgy investigation seeks to establish the root cause where metallic structures or products are involved. Was it an accident, was it a criminal act, was it a design flaw, could it have been sabotage? Metallurgy engineering investigation answers all these questions so that you can know the truth.
Read on to learn more.
Applications of metallurgy engineering investigations
Metallurgy engineering investigations can be carried out during any incident where metal structures or components make up a significant part of the overall build, or where the metal parts are thought to have been the main cause of the incident.
Most metallurgy engineering investigations are carried out to look into situations such as plant collapse/failure, building collapse/failure, plant fires, explosions, leaks and contamination, electrocutions, etc.
How metallurgy failure investigations are carried out
Metallurgy investigations are carried out just like any other forensic process. Protocols are followed at every stage of the process. A standard metallurgy engineering investigation will involve the following key steps:
- Site examination and data recording
- Magnification testing to check the surface damage
- Dissection examination to check internal structural damage
- Mechanical tests to check potential underlying causes such as brittleness, hardness and metal stress
- Destructive testing, e.g. crash testing, fire testing, chemical testing, etc
Importance of metallurgy investigations
The core aim of any metallurgy investigation is to unearth the truth behind the incident; i.e. what caused the incident? How did it happen? Did the metal structures react as they should have? And so forth. These answers can then be applied in a number of ways:
- Private investigations: To understand what caused the metallurgical failures in a bid to correct them. This can be done through repairs, maintenance, replacements, altering manufacturer design, changing the work environment or reducing the work stresses exposed to the subject item.
- Ruling out crime: A metallurgy investigation will allow you to establish if the incident was crime-related or not. If it is, then you can start an investigation and go after the responsible parties.
- Court testimony during legal suits: A report by a metallurgy investigation team can help boost your litigation case when making a case for liability, negligence or compensation claims.
If you have a site where a metallurgy engineering investigation could be of use, seeking expert help immediately is vital. This will ensure that the scene has not been tampered with and will allow the investigators to trace the events that took place.